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Sunday, January 31, 2016

SGI shut up and drink the kool-aid guidance

"I would comment on this directly, but I can't read it because the font is too small for my computer (it's all fuzzy). I do want to say one thing though. 

Have you ever played the telephone game? You know that game you played at slumber parties or rainy days at school? It's when a group of people stand in line and the person on one end of the line, whispers something into the ear of the person standing next to them. That person whispers what they heard into the person next to them and so on, until the last person in the line listens to the whisper and then says aloud what they heard. It's really cute because what comes out the other end is very distorted. I remember being at a slumber party where the message, "I like a boy at school", went through the line and came out, "artichoke and sugar soup". For ten year old girls, this was hysterically funny.

The problem with sharing guidance is a lot like the telephone game. One person hears it and is inspired, then tells another person who in turn writes it down. Unintentionally and unknowingly, each time it is shared with a new person, a word here and there can get changed. This is made more complicated by the fact that since it is about Buddhism, the listener's karma comes into play. What they hear may not be what was said at all. 

I came across this problem rather recently. I was handed a piece of paper with some guidance on it that I thought really inspiring. Later, I heard that the person who had given the guidance in the first place was asking that the printed version be ignored. It seemed that a few words had been changed, but that change made it very off-base. The reason they were changed was simply that those were the words that people remembered hearing. Nobody meant any harm, I surely didn't, but here we all were basing our prayer on something that had become a guidance version of artichoke sugar soup. 

The World Tribune has an entire staff of writers, translators and scholars. They spend a tremendous amount of time and energy, making sure that what is printed in the World Tribune is exactly in line with the Daishonin's Buddhism, and exactly what those quoted have said. Sometimes they will spend entire days talking about a single concept. That's how hard it is to be accurate. 

From my experience with that guidance I mentioned, I now feel that it's better to use the guidance I hear to fuel my own practice and get benefit, and then share my own experience. 

I really do thank you though for your generosity, and your desire to see everyone have a breakthrough." : D [SGI salaried leader by my best guess]

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